03/02/2016 1:20PM

Harness: Wiggle It Jiggleit finishes third in 2016 qualifying debut

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Derick Giwner
Wiggle It Jiggleit set the pace but tired to third in his first qualifier of 2016.

Wiggle It Jiggleit, harness racing’s 2015 Dan Patch Award-winning Horse of the Year, made his 2016 debut Wednesday (March 2) in a qualifier at Dover Downs. The 4-year-old male pacer finished third in the event, which was won by Getitoffyourchest in 1:55 1/5.

Clyde Francis, who trains Wiggle It Jiggelit for owner George Teague Jr. Inc. and the Teague Racing Partnership LLC, said Wiggle It Jiggleit jumped a shadow in the first turn and also faced windy conditions at Dover Downs. Wiggle It Jiggleit finished 1-3/4 lengths behind the winner, with a personal time of 1:55 3/5, in the day’s fastest qualifier by more than one second. Kevin Switzer drove Wiggle It Jiggleit in place of regular driver Montrell Teague, who is away.

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“The plan was to qualify him today and back again next Wednesday,” Francis said. “Today wasn’t a good day; the wind was blowing real hard. None of the races were really going that fast.

“The shadows are always bad from the light poles,” he added. “When I warmed him up he warmed up good, so I didn’t think the shadows were going to bother him, but he took a big leap. He seems to be all right.”

Last year, Wiggle It Jiggleit led all harness racing horses in North America with $2.18 million in purses on his way to being voted Horse of the Year, Pacer of the Year, and best 3-year-old male pacer by the U.S. Harness Writers Association. He won 22 of 26 races and finished second on three occasions.

Wiggle It Jiggleit’s victories included the Meadowlands Pace, Little Brown Jug, Battle of the Brandywine, Max C. Hempt Memorial, Carl Milstein Memorial, Hap Hansen Progress Pace, and Matron Stakes. He won the Little Brown Jug in a memorable stretch duel with Lost For Words, rallying in deep stretch to get to the wire first by a nose.

In addition, Wiggle It Jiggleit paced the fastest mile ever by a 3-year-old on a half-mile track when he won in 1:49 at Harrington Raceway. His time of 1:48 in winning the Battle of the Brandywine set the world record for a 3-year-old gelding on a five-eighths-mile oval.

-Courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, please visit www.ustrotting.com